Patti dian treat for devotees of divine Trinity - Patta chitra by hereditary artists on display at Puri temple during deities' absence

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  • Published 6.07.13

Bhubaneswar, July 5: The association between Jagannath culture and art goes back centuries. During the 15 days of the holy Trinity’s absence, devotees get to see some beautiful patta chitra art that replaces the idols in the sanctum sanctorum.

Popularly known as patti dian, the paintings of the Trinity or the patta chitra are separate forms of images for each of the divine siblings. These are created by artists of the Chitrakar clan on freshly woven tassar cloth. The hereditary artists make the patta paintings just a fortnight before the debasnana purnima when the idols are taken to a secret site.

“Under the guidance of Budha Moharana and Ananta Moharana, the chief artists of our clan, we start the work on jestha amavasya (no moon day) and finish within 15 days,” said Debadutta Moharana, an artist.

“It is an old seba (service) by the members of Chitrakar family and we make sure we submit the painted images of the deities in time despite all odds,” he said.

“New pieces of silk cloth are first soaked in water. Then we create a double layered canvas out of it,” said Moharana.

Only colours prepared from natural elements are used by the artists for the patti dian.

“We prepare black, blue, green, red and brown colours in various shades for the paintings. Most of these are created by grinding mollusc and conch shells and then adding pigments of flower extracts or other natural ingredients,” said another artist. A group of 10 to 15 artists work on the paintings and paint the images of Ananta Narayan, Ananta Basudev and Bhubaneswari. The three paintings represent the three divine siblings.

“While Ananta Narayan represents Lord Jagannath, Ananta Basudev is Lord Balabhadra and Bhubaneswari is Goddess Subhadra,” said Moharana.

Each patta painting is created on a cloth 5.5 feet long and 4 feet wide. Patterns of birds, floral motifs and traditional designs for the images of the temple are drawn by the artists along with small images of devotees. The deities are shown in traditional forms and attires.

“The paintings are the same every year. None of the patterns can be tampered with,” said an artist. The patti dian will be worshipped in the sanctum sanctorum until the divine siblings return from their vacation to their aunt’s house during the bahuda yatra. After that, they are hung at the Basudev temple near Sakhigopal. “After that, we usually get back our paintings,” said Moharana.

Deities better

The deities have almost recovered from the sickness but are still very weak. They were given special food and special massage known as khali laga.